ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays recalled designated hitter Vince Belnome from Triple-A Durham on Saturday to take the place of reliever Brandon Gomes, who was optioned to the Bulls after Friday's 5-0 series-opening win against the Yankees.
Belnome started at DH for Tampa Bay on Saturday and batting seventh. He went 0-for-2 with a walk in the Rays' 3-2 loss to the Yanks.
"We're gonna put Belnome out there today," Rays manager Joe Maddon said before the game. "The bullpen's pretty much back in order, so we can get it back to the seven relief pitchers. Vince had been doing a nice job in Triple-A. Their pitcher, [Yankees starter Shane] Greene, tends to be a little better against righties than lefties, so we'll see how it plays out."
The Rays had called up Gomes on Wednesday because the team needed extra bullpen depth after Tuesday's 14-inning loss to the Rangers.
Belnome knew he might be getting the call when he was pulled from Durham's game Friday night in the ninth inning. Some of his teammates started checking Twitter and saw the Rays had optioned Gomes.
"It was a very long game, and in the bottom of the ninth, [Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo] came over to me right before we were getting ready to hit and just told me, 'We've got to take you out,'" Belnome said. "They said, 'We don't know what the move's gonna be, whether you're going up or not, but we'll just take you out of the game.'"
Belnome has hit .241 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs over 106 games in the Minors this season.
The 26-year-old Belnome had played one game for the Rays, making his Major League debut on July 3 against the Tigers and going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He was sent down at the end of the Detroit series.
Belnome said it's "awesome" to be back, especially with the Rays playing as well as they have been.
"This is the ultimate goal, to be up here and help this team win and hopefully make a playoff run," Belnome said.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.